Monday, January 9, 2012

Humility: Being Authentic, Being You

The greatest two commandments that Jesus gave us are about loving everyone except ourselves. His commands are 1) To love God with all our heart, mind, and soul, and 2) To love others as we love ourselves (Matt. 22:37-40). He tells us to love God unconditionally, and to love others as He loves us. He asks us to love. To agape love. To love unconditionally. To love sacrificially. To love humbly. And that's what the third quality of agape love is: humility

In The Servant, Hunter defines humility as "being authentic and without pretense or arrogance." Now you may be wondering how being authentic and without pretense or arrogance will help us be humble. After all, isn't humility just thinking less of yourself? Isn't it valuing yourself less? Isn't it seeing yourself as being lowly or worthless? No, no, and no. It isn't. Hunter writes, "Humility to me is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less." In case you didn't catch the significance of that, read it again. Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.

So let's look at how we should treat others. In the second greatest commandment, He tells us to love others as we love ourselves. He's telling us to treat others as we treat ourselves. He asks us to love others, to forgive others, to serve others, to provide for others, and to look out for others in the same way we would for ourselves. In short, He instructed us to extend ourselves, deny ourselves, and sacrifice ourselves for the sake of others. This is a high and mighty calling, one we cannot meet if we are living selfishly. We cannot follow Christ if our lives are all about us. The purpose to our existence is to bring glory and attention to God. We cannot do this if we are living to glorify ourselves. Nor can we do it if we aren't extending, denying, and sacrificing ourselves for others.

So what do we have to do? What must we do to learn humility? How do we find it within us to extend, deny, and sacrifice ourselves for God and for others? The answer is humility. We have to become humble.
Being authentic means you're being real, genuine, not fake. It means being honest and open. It means not putting on a show or a masquerade. It simply means being real. Someone once said, "Humbleness is nothing more than a true knowing of yourself and your limitations. Those who see themselves as they truly are would surely be humble indeed."

I think it's important for us to know who we really are. We know need to know the true state of our hearts. We need to know our limitations as human beings. When I need to remember who I really am, one of my favorite passages to read is Isaiah 59. Every time I read this passage, I'm humbled. I remember the true state of humanity. I remember why I need Christ so much, and why it's so important to obey God's commands and to love others. It's too long to share in this post, but I highly encourage you to go read it on your own. It'll only take three or four minutes to read and is well worth it.

As we draw to a close, I want to encourage you to be authentic with others. Be real. Don't wear a mask or fake it. Don't try to make yourself look better than you really are. Don't live for yourself.  Live for God; live for others. Focus on God and on others and not on yourself. Strive to make someone's day by being kind, and remember that your purpose in life is to glorify and bring attention to God. Love God with everything you have; treat others like He treats you.

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